Letter: London figurehead
Thursday 18 November 1999
Sir: Maria Hellyer already has the option to put "none of the above" on her ballot paper (letter, 16 November). She can spoil it. Deliberately.
Politicians and their parties are never aware of the number of conscientious voters who are dissatisfied by the choice of candidates on offer and who stay away from the polling stations; because they do just that.
If they were to attend their polling stations and deliberately spoil their ballot papers, then their dissatisfaction would certainly be registered.
Spoiled papers are always counted. A small number of spoiled papers is likely to happen in any election. But imagine how seriously politicians and parties would take notice if the number of spoiled papers exceeded the narrow majorities by which some of them are elected.
The numbers would reveal a body of people willing enough to make the journey to the polling booth and to cast a vote, large enough to have caused a different electoral result, and yet unpersuaded to do so.
It might even result in the creation of conscientious politicians who are willing to pay more attention to what their constituents say than what their parties tell them to do.
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